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Comprehensive plan to transform Railways underway: Suresh Prabhu

Ranchi/New Delhi, April 4: “We have a comprehensive plan for transforming Indian Railways. Doing this in the shortest possible time will involve multi-stakeholder partnerships for improving various areas of the Railways,” stressed Suresh Prabhu, minister for Railways.

He was speaking at the session “Opportunities in Indian Railways –The scope for partnerships” at the CII annual session 2016 on the theme “Building National Competitiveness” being held in New Delhi.

Elaborating on the challenge of providing a superior rail experience, Prabhu emphasized the need for exponential increase in capacity and continuous investments. While the government is making continuous efforts, partnerships will be the key in this endeavor, he stressed.

The minister expressed the need for a quantum leap in improving technology rather than incremental steps. Citing the example of partnerships with Japan in various areas such as modernization, technology and expansion, he emphasized leveraging the opportunities from technology proliferation. Several MOUs are being signed by the ministry for this, he advised.

On the issue of financial viability of the Railways, the minister stressed the need for exploring various ways of augmenting non-rail revenue such as through monetizing of assets and redevelopment of stations. This will require involvement of private sector, multilateral organizations, NGO’s, self-help groups and others in various areas of development.

The minster also spoke about the transformational agenda for structural reforms in Indian Railways. Evolving the regulatory framework with performance parameters, bringing in contract management and accounting system reforms were brought up by him.

Mohd. Jamshed, member, Traffic, Railway Board, pointed out that performance parameters of the Indian Railways had greatly improved in 2015-16, despite headwinds.

Dr Rajiv Lall, chairman, CII National Committee on Infrastructure Financing, and executive chairman, IDFC Limited, mentioned the corporatization of Indian Railways.

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